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The Making of a Marchioness Paperback – 8 Dec 2010

4.1 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 182 pages
  • Publisher: ReadaClassic.com (8 Dec. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1611043050
  • ISBN-13: 978-1611043051
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,561,578 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


'Delightful...A sparky sense of humour combined with lively social commentary make this a joy to read.' -- The Bookseller August 2001 --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Frances Eliza Hodgson Burnett (1849 –1924) was an English playwright and author. She is best known for her children's stories, in particular The Secret Garden, A Little Princess, and Little Lord Fauntleroy. Born Frances Eliza Hodgson, she lived in Cheetham Hill, Manchester. After the death of her father the family was forced to sell their home, and suffered economic hardship. Until she was sixteen she lived in Salford, and when she was sixteen the family emigrated to Knoxville, Tennessee. There Burnett turned to writing to help earn money for the family, publishing stories in magazines by the time she was nineteen. In 1872 she married Swan Burnett. They lived in Paris for two years where their two sons were born, before returning to the United States to live in Washington D.C. There she began to write novels, the first of which That Lass o' Lowries, was published to good reviews. The publication of Little Lord Fauntleroy in 1886 made her a popular writer of children's fiction, although her romantic adult novels written in the 1890s were also popular. She wrote and helped to produce stage versions of Little Lord Fauntleroy and The Little Princess. Burnett enjoyed socializing and lived a lavish lifestyle. Beginning in the 1880s she began to travel to England frequently and bought a home there in the 1890s. Her oldest son, Lionel, died of tuberculosis in 1892, which caused a relapse of the depression she struggled with for much of her life. She divorced Swan Burnett in 1898 and remarried in 1900, although her second marriage only lasted for a year. At the end of her life she settled in Long Island, where she died in 1924.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I first read this story many years ago in an ancient Nelsons Classics edition with a nice woodcut at the front. I have reread it so often that the old book is falling apart, so I looked for a new copy and found to my surprise that what I had thought to be a private enthusiasm was widely shared-a great pleasure.

As many have said the story is melodramatic. Burnett was a more than competent writer and a marvellous observer of people and society. She makes her heroine frankly and explicitly stupid,but keeps our sympathy for her. (Incidently, contrary to what some reviewers state Emily Fox-Seton is handsome going on beautiful, as the woodcut illustrates.)

What makes the booke for me is her observation of society and people--from a middle-aged marquis to a lower-middle-class servant to a whole rural village. These are not saccharine portraits, but sharp and witty comments on the society of late 19th century Britain. You could write a useful social history of that time from this book.

The description of the plight of poor but genteel women before employment as other than servants was available is extremely touching. The disintegration of an aging aristocratic lady as she finds herself subject to ordinary human feelings for the first time for many years is very funny--and very moving.

Definitely a keeper!

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Format: Paperback
Emily Fox-Seton is a well-bred woman who makes a living as a general dogsbody for rich, upper-class people with less breeding and good taste than herself. The novel was originally published in two parts. The first part is quite short, almost a novella, and ends with Emily marrying a rather dull marquis after a country house party in which her qualities of good humour,good taste and sympathy are shown to best advantage. It reminded me of the fairytale qualities of last year's Persephone bestseller "Miss Pettigrew lives for a day". The second part, which explores Emily's life after her marriage, has a decidedly different tone-almost melodramatic. Emily's joy in her good fortune leads her to try to help her husband's cousin and heir, Alec Osborn. Osborn is the villain of the piece, and when the Marquis goes off to India for a long period, Alec begins to plot his revenge for being excluded from the succession to the estate. The plot includes mysterious accidents narrowly averted and Alec's wife's mysterious Indian ayah gliding around the estate looking sinister. The claustrophobic atmosphere of suspicion is beautifully conveyed. I enjoyed all this while thinking it was quite a contrast to the almost Edith Wharton-like observations of society life in Part 1. The ending is very moving, and thoroughly satisfying. I would highly recommend this novel to anyone who enjoyed Hodgson Burnett's fiction for children. It has the same unsentimental flavour that made the Secret Garden a classic.
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Format: Paperback
I first read this book in my teens and owned a very old out of print copy. To see that Persephone had reprinted it was a glorious surprise and I read it once more as an adult and found that my enjoyment was still the same. A more unlikely couple of lovers you could not meet - a dull, prosaic Marquis bored by being pursued by society women, and Miss Emily Fox-Seton, who cannot be described in any way as young or beautiful or even interesting. She is however a good woman, living by her own endeavours and in similar circumstances to Miss Pettigrew Lives for a day, another Persephone gem, in that she is facing a frightening future on her own. I adore all of Frances Hodgson Burnett's children's stories with their happy endings and alls well that ends well - yes, this is sentimental, yes it is Victorian, but it is delightful and each time I read it I am sorry that I have come to the end. The Indian ayah portrayed in this book is, of course, politically incorrect in today's climate, but the attitudes prevelant at the time must be borne in mind when reading in the 21st century. Some of the situations are contrived, but it is a lovely book and calling it a 'good read' though not an intellectual recommendation, sums it up beautifully.
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Format: Paperback
I was really looking forward to reading this and saved it up for a long afternoon on the sofa with a cup of tea. But somehow, I was a teeny bit disappointed. I loved The Secret Garden and A Little Princess, but hadn't read any of the prolific Frances HB's work for adults as so much of it is out of print.
The book is very oddly-structured. The first part is a very charming fairytale, as well as a caustic comment on the plight of unmarried women in Victorian society. Emily is bowled over by gratitude and relief when she receives a proposal from a stodgy marquis who doesn't love her, because he has rescued her from a terrifying descent into middle-age as a distressed gentlewoman. But the second part, which is high Victorian melodrama, seems to have been tagged on as something of an afterthought. (The author admitted that she hadn't thought it through as a whole.) Though I suppose it is also a caustic comment on the plight of heirs presumptive whose great expectations (and those of their wives) can so cruelly be blighted!
I'm sure Frances HB had great fun writing it but it reads as though she knocked it off in something of a hurry!
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